Wondering why you don’t get along with a colleague, or why a certain communication style falls flat with your client? Understanding personality types may help.
The Enneagram Test is not new but has gained popularity in recent years, and is commonly used in the workplace to help improve team dynamics and business relationships. It’s a tool that measures your personality across 9 personality types, giving you a better understanding of your tendencies, stressors, fears, and strengths. You will end up with one personality type that characterizes you best, but there can be several of the 9 types, which reflect parts of your personality. Each personality type corresponds to one number in the Enneagram structure and has corresponding “wings,” which are the numbers to the right or left of your number. According to the theory, your personality transitions to your wings in certain situations. For example, if you are a Type 3, you may also exhibit personality traits consistent with Type 2 and 4 (the “wings”), depending on the circumstances.
There are several sites with different versions of the Enneagram test, such as Truity and Crystal, which takes around 10 minutes to complete and allow you to view portions of your results for free. At the end of the test, you’ll receive your personality type number, along with an explanation and recommendations for how to communicate effectively with other personality types.
Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, what motivates you, and how you communicate can help you improve your relationships with others, choose a field or role that fits your personality, and find other personality types that complement yours. It also helps explain why you tend to gravitate towards certain people or situations over others.
When you understand personality types, you can make sense of behaviors that confuse or irritate you, enabling you to be more tolerant or adjust your behavior to create a more positive interaction. For example, if you’re working with a Type 1 Reformer/Perfectionist, you may notice they are very direct when communicating or tend to correct others. Knowing their need for organization and control is driving these behaviors helps you empathize with them and take criticism less personally.
For clients, the more you understand their personalities, the better prepared you’ll be to serve them well. For example, if your client is a Type 4, you may want to be more creative and appeal to emotions during your sales pitch, versus if you were pitching to a Type 3, who would value a more results-based pitch.
The Enneagram is one of many tests that can be helpful for building and improving your relationships. However, personality tests cannot possibly capture the entire essence of a person with 100 percent accuracy, and therefore should be used as a general guide. That being said, knowing yourself and being able to understand others is powerful, and tools like the Enneagram help you do it. The key to better relationships is empathy. The more empathetic you are in your relationships, the easier it is for you to work with others to create positive outcomes.